St Andrew JPs and lay magistrates honour their own
Commissioner of Police Dr Karl Williams is calling on Justices of the Peace (JPs) to be "trailblazers" for the Jamaica Constabulary Force, as the police seek to work better with citizens.
"Your knowledge and your understanding of your communities will give the police a head start," he said. "Together we can work to rebuild peaceful communities." Commissioner Williams was addressing the St Andrew JPs and Lay Magistrates' Association's annual awards dinner last Saturday at the Terra Nova All-Suite Hotel. He lauded JPs for their tireless efforts and applauded the fact that their service is without remuneration.
"Your status is an enviable one...you are seen as respected by members of your community," he said. Commissioner Williams also reminded police personnel that they, "will constantly be subject to public scrutiny." He was referring to a recent incident in St Ann where police personnel confiscated a camera being used by a member of the public to video proceedings.
Commissioner Williams noted that, "mere recording does not necessarily that constitute an offence". But he called on Jamaicans to remain sensitive to the work the police do to preserve their lives and property. He noted that recording certain images could reveal sensitive information or compromise the identity of witnesses.
Custos of St Andrew, Marigold Harding, said the awards recognised all JPs who have worked hard over the years, giving yeoman service in the various courts and communities.
"This is volunteerism...we work because we have an interest in our country," she said. "We need to rebuild our country from the level of our communities." President of the St Andrew association, Peter Champagnie, said it was important to recognise persons who have distinguished themselves. Hinting at the current Commission of Enquiry into the Tivoli incursion, in which he is representing the army, Champagnie said the awards event was timely. He said in any community where persons are appointed to keep the peace, they are expected to play their role.
Joy Grant - Carter, who spearheaded the establishment of a formal office for St Andrew JPs, received the coveted Custos' Award for her years of service. The President's Award went to Shameca Swaby, who Champagnie noted, "has gone above and beyond the call of duty" in serving others. There were six Pearl Awards for JPs who have served more than 30 years, while special awards were presented to the Police Officers' Club, SuperClubs and Jamaica National Building Society. Several JPs were given certificates and plaques for giving between five and 29 years of service.